Keelin Wedge continues the tradition of Island music
by Norah PendergastTo watch sixteen-year-old fiddle player, Keelin Wedge preform is to witness a true expression of Acadian culture.
“When I was six I asked Santa to bring me a fiddle, and that’s how it started.” Perhaps Keelin was predisposed to music. Her mother has descended from an especially musical, Francophone family, “they’re all fiddlers and dancers.”
The close knit communities of West Prince, with Acadian roots, and many philanthropic talent shows, are breeding grounds for young traditional musicians. There are many local events which provide much opportunity for skill development. Keelin Wedge has utilized this community support to develop mature musical skill and confidence. She appeared in her first talent show at age two, and hasn’t looked back. Last year Keelin played almost eighty concerts in jam packed community halls.
“It takes a lot of practice to fiddle and step dance at the same time because you can get going, and the bow starts bouncing, and its easy to get out of control,” explained the grade ten student. Keelin not only controls her bow, she also manages her own bookings and hopes to one day make a recording of traditional Acadian music. She is motivated to pursue the busy lifestyle of the professional musician because, “Music gives me the opportunity to play with so many interesting people, and there is always something to improve upon. You learn something new every day.”
Keelin demonstrated her stylistic versatility at the 2002-2003 PEI. Music Awards when she was awarded Classical Artist of the Year for a piece she decided to play, “just for something different.” Keelin is partial to traditional music, which she usually learns by ear, because there is more room for improvisation and the development of a personal style.
Summer will be busy for Keelin, she will perform with the 16th edition of the Acadian Dinner Theatre, ‘V’nez Chou Nous,” playing at the Knights of Columbus Hall in Palmer Road. She will also be a regular performer at Ceilidhs in Malpeque and Stanley Bridge, with Michael Pendergast.